Cultural calendar, October 15-23, 2003

Cultural calendar, October 15-23, 2003

WEDNESDAY, October 15
Country dance night:
Couples and line dancing at Fry's Spring Beach Club. Runs simultaneously with the Club's Latin dance night. Dance lesson free with cover. Lesson 7pm, dancing 8-11pm. 2512 Jefferson Park Ave. $7 cover, $4 full-time students. 977-0491.

Latin dance night: Latin dancing at Fry's Spring Beach Club. Runs simultaneously with the Club's country dance night. 8-11pm. 2512 Jefferson Park Ave. $7 cover. 977-0491.

Much Ado about Nothing: See Friday, October 10.

Tartuffe: See Saturday, October 11. Today's show is at 10:30am.

Audition notice: See Tuesday, October 14.

Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats: The Charlottesville Performing Arts Center presents the world-famous acrobats in a night of performance balance, juggling, dance, comedy, and magic. 7pm. 1400 Melbourne Road. $7-15. 800-594-8499.

Baby book:
Children's storybook author Kate Laing reads from her latest book, Best Kind of Baby, at a special toddler storytime and book signing at Barnes & Noble. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Dog days: SPCA humane educators and their furry companions show kids five and up how to train their own dogs during National Animal Safety Month at Gordon Avenue Library. Two-legged participants only, please. 4pm. Free. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

More little literati: The five-and-under crowd can hear stories from the popular series Harold and the Purple Crayon at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. Stickers and cookies are part of the fun, too. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Confused Bastards in India:
Local author Don Webster has written an engaging history of the little-known WWII CBI theater (China-Burma-India) and the impossibly cranky American hero behind it, General "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell. His book tour starts at home at New Dominion Bookshop, 5:30 pm. Downtown Mall. 295-2552. See Words feature.

Modern plague: As many as 100 million people world-wide will be HIV/AIDS positive by 2010. Determining how to deter its spread is one of the most important priorities in modern pharmacy. Mary Ann Leeper, director of the global launch of the Female Condom, discusses "The Faces of AIDS: Issues of Prevention and Treatment in Developing Countries." Jordan Hall Auditorium, UVA Grounds 12:30-1:30pm, to be followed by a roundtable discussion at the School of Nursing, 2-3pm. Free and open to the public. 924-0138.

MFA reading series: New Dominion Books hosts weekly readings by writers from UVA's MFA program. 8pm. Free. 924-6675.

Moving with ease:
The Traeger Approach with Roger Tolle. 7pm. Quest Bookshop. Free. 619 W. Main St. 295-3377.

Old hotel trail: A great hike, approximately four miles. Register by Tuesday at noon. $7 members, $10 non-members. Free. At Trillium House at Wintergreen Resort. 325-7491

The Black Keys with The Magic Magicians at Starr Hill:
The Black Keys, an Ohio blues-rock duo, are probably one of the best acts Starr Hill is going to have all year-&endash; not speaking to the venue's booking talents, just to the fact that the act is superb. $10/$8, 9pm. See Tunes feature.

Benny Dodd (cover-man) at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm. (W)

The Matthew Willner 4 at Michael's Bistro. No cover.

Jeff Decker and Mike Rosensky Quartet (jazz) at Miller's. No cover, 9pm. (W)

Caveman (rock) at Orbit. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Open Jam at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 7pm. (W)

Clarence Green and the Chameleon Project at South Street Brewery. No cover, 10pm.

Mark Goldstein and Tusker (acoustic rock) upstairs at Tokyo Rose. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

THURSDAY, October 16
Shel game:
The five-and-under crowd gets a special treat at Barnes & Noble's storytime today. Eleanor Fauber reads the stories and poems of Shel Silverstein. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Separation support:
Lesbians and gay men who have experienced a break and need a safe place to cope with loss, process feelings, and create a new beginning meet every Thursday night, 7-8:30pm. Sponsored by Focus. Info: 978-2195.

Joshua Mayo at Coupe DeVille's:
The sweet sounds of acoustic-pop singer/songwriter Joshua Mayo have been heard on the Corner for a while-&endash; why don't you go check him out, if you haven't yet? No cover, 10pm.

Old Time Music and Culture Live performance Campbell, Costa & Lloyd at the Prism: The Prism and UVA's School of Continuing and Professional studies present this non-credit course about the history of old time music. Taught by Kevin Donleavy with help from Pete Vigour, this hour-long class will be followed at 8pm by a weekly live performance. This week&endash; Campbell, Costa & Lloyd. $12/$10 advance, 7pm.

Jim Waive (country-folk) at the Blue Moon Diner. Free, 8pm (W)

Karaoke Night with DJ Wild Wes at Buffalo Wild Wings. Free, 9pm (W)

A Songwriter's Showcase featuring Jan Smith, William Lott, Nickeltown, Terry Allard, and many others at the Clock Tower Tavern in Staunton. $5, 7pm. 540-213-2403

Chicken Head Blues Band at Dürty Nelly's. $4, 9pm. (W)

Jan Smith (roots-pop) and Andy Waldeck (acoustic pop) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

John D'earth and friends (freeform jazz) at Miller's. $4, 10pm. (W)

This Means You and One Slack Mind (heavy metal) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Game Night at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 5pm. (W)

Middle Eastern Belly Dance Class at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 6:30pm. (W)

Kathy Olsen Trio (jazz) upstairs at Tokyo Rose. Free, 9:30pm. (W)

Eyes like Knives and Lot 6 at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10:30pm.

FRIDAY, October 17
Contra dance:
Albemarle Chapter of the Country Dance and Song Society hosts a contra dance with caller Shawn Brenneman and music by Woody and Marcia McKenzie. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth St. Ext. Free beginners' workshop at 7:30pm, dance 8-11pm. $7 adults, free under 12 years. 295-1245.

No Shame Theater: Up for a theatrical nightcap? Join performers at this alternative venue for original material by anyone about anything. The first 15 people who show up get a spot on stage. Or you can just watch the carryings on. Live Arts LAB, 609 E. Market St. 11pm. $5 at the door. 977-4177.

Paradise: Dance club event with DJ E. Wil. Door prizes include free trip to the Bahamas, and the first 100 women get a coupon for a free tanning session. 10pm-2am. Age 16 and up only. Fry's Spring Beach Club, Jefferson Park Avenue. 434-825-9089.

Brighton Beach Memoirs: Four County Players presents Neil Simon's autobiographical comedy/drama about life as a Brooklyn teenager in 1937. Directed by Michael Morris through October 19 at the Barboursville Community Center, Rt. 678 and Community Center Lane. 8pm. $8-12. 540-832-5355.

Tartuffe: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents a new production of Moliere's comic masterpiece in the Blackfriars Playhouse. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Martha Jefferson fair:
A collection of unique boutiques gather from all over the country to benefit Martha Jefferson Hospital's breast cancer and breast health outreach and support services. Enjoy live entertainment, gourmet lunch, and of course, shopping for a great cause. 10am-6m and 11am&endash;4pm. Omni Hotel, Downtown Mall. 293-6594.

Monticello Archaeology open house: Celebrate Virginia Archaeology Month with a visit to the Monticello Archaeology Lab and a brief walking tour featuring recent archaeological insights into Monticello's vanished plantation landscape. 10am-4pm with walking tours on the hour until 3pm. Free. Info: 984-9822.

Join a gathering of poets at New Dominion Bookshop, which hosts the editors and contributors of Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia. That means George Garrett, Gregory Orr, Lisa Russ-Spar et al., plus editors Sarah Kennedy and R.T. Smith. Downtown Mall, 5:30pm. Call 295-2552 to reserve a copy of the anthology.

Mind retreat: Join Tantric expert Martin Lowenthal for a lecture and signing of his new book, published by Hampton Roads, with a title of record-breaking length: Dawning of Clear Ligh– A Sacred Path of Mindfulness and Dzogchen A Western Approach to Tibetan Dark Retreat Meditation. Quest Bookstore, 619 Main St. Free. 7pm. 295-3377.

Mid-East peace: Aaron David Miller, President of Seeds of Peace and an adviser to six Secretaries of State, speaks about the possibilities of an Arab-Israeli peace. Miller Center, 2201 Old Ivy Road, 11am. 924-0921.

Star struck:
The view is out of this world at Public Night at McCormick Observatory from 9-11pm (weather permitting). UVA's research telescopes on O-Hill will be pointed heavenward, and Astronomy Department staff and students will be on hand with a slide show and answers to starry questions. Free. McCormick Road. 924-7494.

Totally lunar: The Science Museum of Virginia previews the November 8 total lunar eclipse in an interactive planetarium show at 6pm. Afterward, stargazers can join the Richmond Astronomical Society on the museum's lawn to take a peek through the telescope. 9pm. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Fortune-Williams Music Festival:
The first annual Fortune-Williams Music Festival kicks off tonight with performances from Travis Norton, Edible Folk, and Bert Carlson Quartet featuring Danny Knicely on the mini-concert stage starting at 4pm, and then Texas singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith at 7:30pm on the main stage. Mini-stage performances free, main stage $25-35, 4pm. Staunton. Complete schedule:

Fighting Gravity at Starr Hill: Ska-disciples Fighting Gravity are still going, after who knows how many years. Some people really dig them… 10/$8 advance, 10pm.

DJ soundbox with special guest DJs at Garden of Sheba. Free, 10pm.

Kate Campbell at the Center for Christian Study (128 Chancellor St.). $12, 7:30pm. 817-1050.

Jack with the Permutations at Dürty Nelly's. No cover, 10pm.

CD Release Party: Vyktoria Pratt Keating at Gravity Lounge. $5, 7:30pm.

Makia Groove (jam) at Jabberwocky. No cover, 11pm

William Walter & Co. (acoustic-rock) at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

Oregon Hill Funk All-Stars at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Russ Barenberg and Bryan Sutton (bluegrass guitar) at the Prism. $22/$18 advance, 7 and 9:30pm.

HoneyBoy Rush's Acoustic Blues Review at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 8pm.

Old Time Music Jam at Rockfish Valley Community Center. $2, 7:30pm. (W)

Riot Act, The Sex, and Atomatron at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10:30pm.

SATURDAY, October 18
Up close:
Paintings by Eugenia Rausse are on view through October 30 at the New Dominion Bookshop. Meet the artist tat a reception 3-5pm. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Double Bill Improv:
At 8pm, Common Thread Playback Theater performs stories and events from audience members' lives. At 10pm, The Improfessionals present a comedy improv cross between Whose Line is it Anyway? and Nichols and May. $8 each show, $12 both shows. Studio 20, McGuffey Arts Center, 201 Second St. NW. 977-9957.

Brighton Beach Memoirs: See Friday, October 17.

Knight of the Burning Pestle: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents Francis Beaumont's raucous Elizabethan farce at the Blackfriars Playhouse. 2pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

King Lear: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents the Bard's monumental tragedy at the Blackfriars Playhouse. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Martha Jefferson fair:
See Saturday, October 17.

Autumn Hill: 17th Annual Barrel Tasting. Barrel tasting of 2003 wines, cellar tours, wine appreciation discussions, and vertical Cabernet Sauvignon tasting. Homemade soup and bread. Rain or shine. Bring a picnic lunch. No reservations required. $6 per person includes glass. 985-6100.

Barboursville Vineyards: Guest Chef series with Chef Thomas Bowles of C&O Restaurant. Enjoy a five-course dinner featuring multiple vintages of Cabernet Franc to celebrate the release of the 2001. 7pm, $95 per person all-inclusive. Reservations required 540-832-7848.

Oakencroft fall celebration: Tasty snacks and soup. Tastings of all their medal winning wines and tours. 11am-5pm. $8 admission includes your wine glass. October 18 and 19. 296-4188.

White Hall Vineyards: Art in the Vineyard. Local artists display and sell their works amid beautiful fall foliage. Tastings, tours, light refreshments, picnic area. 12-5pm. $5 includes embossed tasting glass. 823-8615.

Land alive!: Retired research forester Tom Dierauf discusses the dynamic nature of a central Virginia forest as exemplified at the Ivy Creek Natural Area. 9am. Free. Earlysville Road. 973-7772.

Walton's Mountain Fall Crafter's Fair: Art, jewelry, furniture, and much more at the Walton's Mountain Country Store. 10am-5pm. Rt. 5 off U.S. 29 in Nelson County, 24 miles south of Charlottesville. Free. 263-4566.

Apple season:
It's apple harvest time, and Graves' Mountain is having a festival to celebrate. Visitors can come to pick apples and stay for crafts, music, home cookin', hayrides or horseback rides, a hay maze, the farm train, cloggers, blue grass, and more. 10am-4:30pm. Free admission. Rt. 670 in Syria. 540-923-4231.

Teens who write: It's the last day for young poets in grades 6-12 to submit their work to the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library's Teen Poetry Contest. Entry forms and guidelines are available at any J-MRL branch. One original poem per person can be submitted. One middle school winner, one high school winner, and four runners-up will be selected. For more information call Tim at 979-7151, ext. 215 or Wendy at 973-7893.

Planting seeds: Johnny Appleseed bounds on stage at The Old Michie Theatre. Hand-carved marionettes perform the American folk tale at 11am, 2pm, and 4pm. $5. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690.

Juggling comedy: Comedy Entertainer of the Year Mark Nizer performs juggling magic at Carysbrook Performing Arts Center in Fluvanna. 8pm. Adults $15, students $10, advance ticket discounts. 842-1333.

Science daze: The Science Museum of Virginia seeks super sleuths to use science to solve crimes. In an all-day program of hands-on workshops, demonstrations, exhibits, an IMAX film, and planetarium show, young investigators can explore the world of forensics as they collect clues and evidence. $18 per child. Call to register. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Creatures of the night: Adventurous types can find out "hoo" wakes up at night as they discover nocturnal plants, animals, and the moon at the Science Museum of Virginia. Noon-4pm. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

NAACP welcomes complaints from the community. Members of the Branch Legal Redress Committee will be available from 1-3pm at NAACP Headquarters at 703 Concord Ave. Contact Cindy Stratton, Branch Vice President after 6pm at 979-7763.

Fortune-Williams Music Festival in Downtown Staunton:
See Friday, October 17.

Ex-Porn Stars at Outback Lodge: Friggin' amazing local funk/rock/pop act Ex-Porn Stars features some of the best local musicians this town has turned out. You will not regret paying $7 for this show. 10pm.

The Dawning: Atomic Box at Tokyo Rose: Atomic Box brings "upbeat electro-industrial rock" back to the Tokyo Rose, with some spinning provided by Goth and Industrial themed DJ Ju5t1ce. $5, 10:30pm.

The Dinah Pehrson Blues Band at Bistro 151 in Nellysford. No cover, 9:30pm. 434-361-1234

Jeff Romano and Heather Berry at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

Monticello Road at Jabberwocky. No cover, 11pm.

Blues Festival featuring Eli Cook, Proffitt and Sandidge, and the Cathy Ponton King Band (from DC) at Mt. Cove Vineyards in Nelson County. $10/ children under 12 free, noon.

Matt Flinner Quartet (jazz) at the Prism. $14/$12 advance, 8pm.

The Boon Doctors (classic and modern rock) at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. $5, 8pm.

The Fair Weather Bums (bluegrass) at Shebeen. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

Akshan and the Dub Fire Band ("roots, dance hall reggae") at Garden of Sheba. $7, 10pm.

SUNDAY, October 19
Forest snaps:
Hullihen Williams Moore's exhibit of Shenandoah photography is in place at the ArtSpace gallery in the third floor of Newcomb Hall through November 2. The photos are to be published by the University of Virginia Press. A book launch and gallery reception happen today, 2-4pm. 924-4164.

Sunday salsa:
The Charlottesville Salsa Club sponsors a weekly opportunity to learn and practice salsa and other dances in a smoke-free nightclub atmosphere. A basic lesson (usually salsa) gets the evening started at 8pm. Complimentary water and sodas. The Outback Lodge, 917 Preston Ave. 8pm-midnight. $3-5. or 979-7211.

West Coast swing practice: The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society holds this weekly practice session with recorded music. 7-9pm. Dance Center, 380 Greenbrier Drive. Free. 980-2744.

Brighton Beach Memoirs: See Friday, October 17. Today's show is at 2:30pm.

Much Ado about Nothing: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents a spirited production of the Bard's lighthearted romantic comedy at the Blackfriars Playhouse. 2pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Park it:
Area residents are invited to Cultural History Days at Sundays in the Park this week and next. McIntire Golf Course will be off-limits to golfers from noon until dark so others can play and learn about some of the fascinating history of the park from local experts. Dogs are welcome, but must remain on the leash. Free. 970-3589.

Chem lab: The Science Museum of Virginia celebrates National Chemistry Week today through October 25 with lots of cool hands-on activities that really cause a reaction. Noon-4pm today. Included in price of museum admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Apple season: See Saturday, October 18.

Martha Jefferson fair:
See Saturday, October 17.

Autumn Hill: See Saturday, October 18.

Oakencroft Winery: See October 18.

White Hall Vineyards: See October 18.

Walton's Mountain Fall Crafter's Fair: See Saturday, October 18.

Autumn Big Woods Walk at Montpelier: This guided two-hour walking tour of the James Madison Landmark Forest meets at 2pm at the Montpelier Visitor Center. Reservations only. Adults $9; children $5. Information and reservations 540-672-2728, press 6 for RSVP line. See Walkabout feature.

I Get Around:
Robert Michael Pyle has been a butterfly conservationist in Papua, New Guinea, and a guest lecturer at the University of Alaska. His books include Where Big Foot Walks and Nabokov's Butterflies. He's at Ivy Creek Natural Area for a reading sponsored by UVA's Brown College for Environmental Literature. Earlysville Road. 2pm. 924-7859.

Carmina Burana: The popular choral work, conducted by L. Thomas Vining, joined by Leslie Hamilton (soprano), Dan Snyder (tenor), and Robert Burner (baritone) and the Oratorio Society of Charlottesville-Albemarle. $22.50/$10 student rush seats, 3:30pm. V. Earl Dickinson Fine and Performing Arts Center at PVCC. 996-3610.

The Hogwaller Ramblers (bluegrass mayhem) at Escafé. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Sam Wilson Group at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

Out For Justice, The Make-Out Twins, Dirt Pond, ASAPossible at Taj Mahal (1536b Virginia Ave.). Free, 3pm. Email for directions.

MONDAY, October 20
Arts awards:
The Piedmont Council of the Arts holds the annual Arts Awards celebration banquet. 7pm. Omni Hotel. $50/guest, $100/patron. 971-ARTS.

Hopeful parents:
Adoptive Families of Central Virginia hosts "Waiting Families" 7 -8:45pm at the Gordon Avenue Library. Families currently in the process of adopting or new folks considering adoption are invited to attend. 7pm. Free. 1500 Gordon Ave. 295-8478.

Chem lab: See Sunday, October 19. Hours today are 10am-2pm.

Woman to Woman Sexual Assault:
A talk by Dr. Lori Girshick, an expert and activist in the field of relationship violence. Presented by The Women's Center at UVA's Ruffner Auditorium. Free. 8pm. 982-2911.

Collaborative solutions to improving end-of-life care: A talk at the Miller Center by Patricia Bomba, the medical director for Geriatrics of Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Free. 11am. 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-7723.

Open Mic Night with Charles Davis at Baja Bean. No cover, signup 8:30pm/9pm. (W)

Jackson Gibson at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

Max Collins (experimental acoustic) at Michael's Bistro. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

Open Mic Night at Miller's. Free, 9:30 signup/10pm start. (W)

George Melvin (piano merriment) at South Street Brewery. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

Travis Elliot at the Virginian. No cover, 10:30pm.

TUESDAY, October 21
Kluge-Ruhe gallery talk:
As part of the Fringe Festival, organized in conjunction with the Virginia Film Festival, a collection of Aboriginal bark paintings, works on canvas, and sculpture from the community of Ramingining, in Australia's Northern Territory will be on display at the IGA building on McIntire Road. Tonight at 7:30, Belinda Scott, of Bula'bula Arts (the arts center at Ramingining) hosts a gallery talk about the exhibition. Reservations are not required for this event. Call 244-0234 for more information.

LiveArts Acting LAB:
This weekly Tuesday night class with instructor Carol Pederson allows actors to review the fundamentals of acting technique, brush up audition skills, and explore scenes from the plays in LiveArts' new season. Drop-in session from 7-8pm, full session from 7-10pm. The Attic, The Glass Building, 313 Second St. SE, Studio 208. $10 drop-in. 977-4177 x100.

Scrabble crossword game club:
All wordies welcome. Foxcroft Subdivision Clubhouse, off Southern Parkway. 7pm. Free. 979-1130.

Newcomers luncheon: Monthly meeting open to all. Speakers Nancy Damon, program director of Book Festival, and Susan Coleman, Festival director. 11am social, lunch at noon. 971-5500. Jefferson Ballroom, Omni Hotel. 235 W. Main on the Downtown Mall. Reservations, 244-9815.

Incivility in public life: A talk by William P. Hobby, former Lieutenant Governor of Texas (1973-1991). Free. 11am. Miller Center, 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-7723.

Chem lab:
See Sunday, October 19. Hours today are 10am-2pm.

I Get Around:
See Sunday, October 19. Today Robert Michael Pyle is at Alderman Library for an event reading sponsored by UVA's Brown College for Environmental Literature. Special Collections. 5:30pm. 924-7859.

Tuesday Evening Concert Series:
Internationally known cellist Colin Carr teams up with pianist Lee Luvisi for this performance. Tonight's schedule is as follows: Brahm's "E minor Sonata," Schumann's "Fantasy pieces," Schumann's "Adagio & Allegro," and Brahm's "F Major Sonata." $24 orchestra/$20 loge & balcony/$10 students, partial-view seats, and standing-room only/$5 student one-hour rush seats, 8pm. Cabell Hall auditorium. 924-3984

Karaoke Night at Baja Bean. Free, 8pm. (W)

Jamie and Rolland (partial bluegrass mayhem) at the Blue Moon Diner. No cover, 8pm. (W)

Glen Mack at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

Steve and Timi Ryalls (acoustic duo) at Dürty Nelly's. $3, 8pm. (W)

Cherry Valence at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10:30pm.

Ezra Hamilton (of X Porn Stars) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

WEDNESDAY, October 22
Wine dinner:
Second Street Gallery's 10th annual wine dinner happens tonight at Metro. Cocktail preview of Second Street's new digs on Water Street at 6pm. Dinner at 7. $80/person. 214 W. Water St. 977-7284.

See Friday, October 17. Note change of time: Tonight's show is at 8pm.

Country dance night: Couples and line dancing at Fry's Spring Beach Club. Runs simultaneously with the Club's Latin dance night. Dance lesson free with cover. Lesson 7pm, dancing 8-11pm. 2512 Jefferson Park Ave. $7 cover, $4 full-time students. 977-0491.

Latin dance night: Latin dancing at Fry's Spring Beach Club. Runs simultaneously with the Club's country dance night. 8-11pm. 2512 Jefferson Park Ave. $7 cover. 977-0491.

MFA reading series: New Dominion Bookshop hosts weekly readings by writers from UVA's MFA program. 8pm. Free. Downtown Mall. 924-6675.

Little literati:
The five-and-under crowd can hear the story teller's favorites at Barnes & Noble's preschool storytime. Stickers and cookies are part of the fun too. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Chem lab: See Sunday, October 19. Hours today are 10am-2pm.

The ultimate Led Zeppelin experience with the Stone Temple Pirates, a tribute to Stone Temple Pilots. An evening of reliving rock's past at Starr Hill. Nothing much else to say about this one. $10/$8 advance, 9pm.

Benny Dodd (cover-man) at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Greg Howard's Sonic Expeditions at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

Dave Gerard at Michael's Bistro. $3, 10pm.

Jeff Decker and Mike Rosensky Quartet (jazz) at Miller's. No cover, 9pm. (W)

Caveman (rock) at Orbit. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Open Jam at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 7pm. (W)

Middle Eastern Belly Dance Class at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 6:30pm. (W)

Josh Mayo (acoustic pop) with saxophonist Dain North at South Street Brewery. No cover, 10pm.

Mark Goldstein and Tusker (acoustic rock) upstairs at Tokyo Rose. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

THURSDAY, October 23
Much Ado about Nothing:
See Sunday, October 19. Tonight's show is at 7:30.

East Coast swing practice: The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society holds this weekly practice session with recorded music. 7:30-9pm. Albemarle County Office Building, 401 McIntire Road. Free. 980-2744.

Scene acting study for teens: In this weekly Thursday evening class, students age 13-19 explore language and character while sharpening skills of self-awareness, observation, and articulate use of the voice and body. Classes run until October 30, and culminate in a final presentation in Live Arts' new space. Instructor: Amanda McRaven. Live Arts LAB, 609 E. Market St. 5-7pm. $60 Live Arts members/$75 general. 977-4177 x100.

Celtic Halloween evening: PVCC theater arts program presents Tam-Lin, a Celtic Halloween evening for the entire family. This dramatic story of fiery Jennet McKenzie reclaiming her ancestral castle and her doomed lover from the eerie fairy host is woven into a rich tapestry of music, poetry, drama, and dance. 8pm. Rapunzel's Books and Coffee, 924 Front St., Lovingston. 361-0100.

Little literati:
See Wednesday, October 22.

Parenting teens: Children, Youth, and Family Services offers a four-week class on Surviving the Teen Years starting tonight. $15 for the series. Call for information and registration. 296-4118, ext. 235 or 224.

Chem lab: See Sunday, October 19. Hours today are 10am-2pm.

Cherry Tree, Shmerry Tree:
Local author Henry Weincek explores the true source of George Washington's "only unavoidable source of regret," his ownership of slaves before he became a Revolutionary. Weincek reads from his book, An Imperfect God, at New Dominion Bookstore on the Downtown Mall, 295-2552.

Cross-cultural Badlands: Local poet Debra Nystrom reads from her collection, Torn Sky, about growing up in South Dakota with the Swedes and the Indians. Betty Sue Jessup Library, PVCC. 7:30pm. 961-5203.

On the same page: Archaeologists and Native Americans are often seen as being at cross-purposes when it comes to documenting Indian history. But tonight UVA professor of anthropology Jeffrey Hantman is joined by members of the Monacan Indian Nation in a panel discussion about their collaborative efforts and new understandings bridging academic and tribal gaps. Rotunda Dome Room, 4pm. Reservations recommended. Free. 1-866-UVAOutreach.

Strings of Life:
The Mammals with Ruth Ungar & Tao Rodriguez-Seeger come to the Prism. $12/$10 advance, 7pm. See Tunes feature.

Jim Waive (country-folk) at the Blue Moon Diner. Free, 8pm (W)

Karaoke Night with DJ Wild Wes at Buffalo Wild Wings. Free, 9pm (W)

Jack with the Permutations at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm.

Chicken Head Blues Band at Dürty Nelly's. $4, 9pm. (W)

Jan Smith Band (roots-rock) and Lauren Hoffman and the Lilas (indie-rock) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

John D'earth and friends (freeform jazz) at Miller's. $4, 10pm. (W)

Lyman and Agony Creeps at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Game night at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 5pm. (W)

Middle Eastern Belly Dance Class at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 6:30pm. (W)

Bob Schneider (roots rock) with Jeff Klein at Starr Hill. $15/$13 advance, 9pm.

Kathy Olsen Trio (jazz) upstairs at Tokyo Rose. Free, 9:30pm. (W)

Upcoming and Ongoing:
Quantity, not quality:
Sign up now to join over 25,000 aspiring novelists in the ultimate battle against writers' block. National Novel Writing Month begins November 1. Write 50,000 words of inspiration or blather by November 30 and join the ranks of NaNoWriMo winners. See Words feature.

Writer's Eye: Students grade 3-12 are invited to join the 17th annual Writer's Eye literary competition by submitting prose or poetry inspired by art on exhibit at the University of Virginia Art Museum. Eleven local teachers and writers will read and review entries. Writer Mariflo Stevens is the prose judge, and state poet laureate George Garrett will judge poetry entries. Winners are announced in the spring. Info at virginiaedu/artmuseum or 924-7142.

The Charlottesville Vocal Arts Society holds a competition in March and April 2004 to determine the winner of a $1,000 music scholarship to be given to a local student in grade nine through college. Any student who resides, works, or attends school in the area is eligible. Maximum age for entrants is 25. Application and more information available on or from 296-2238.

Staunton Architecture and Garden Tour: Every Sunday in October.
10:30am-12:30pm. $5. Meet at Woodrow Wilson's Garden at Coalter and Frederick streets. 540-885-1733.

Join in the conversation: English as Second Language learners interact with native English speakers at the Dialogue Café. In the Adult Learning Center at 1000 Preston Ave. Thursdays 11:30am&endash;1pm. 245-2815.

Historic Downtown Charlottesville: Walking tour given by the Albemarle County Historical Society. $3. Meet at the McIntire Building, 200 Second St. Saturdays 10am. 296-1492.

Madison's will: The last will and testament of James Madison is now on display at Montpelier. The four-page hand-written document plus codicil was executed in April 1835, little more than a year before the President's death. The will is visible in the Document Gallery on the first floor of the Montpelier mansion and joins a new exhibit of rare versions of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 9:30am-5:30pm through October. For more information and directions see or call 672 2728.

Farmer's markets: The more the merrier. Charlottesville's is on Saturday mornings, the Scottsville Farmer's Market is open Thursdays 4pm-dark, through October, under a tent in Scottsville's town Park. Crozet Farmer's Market: is on Saturdays 8am&endash;12pm. 1156 Crozet Ave. (corner of Jarman's Gap Road) Backyard gardeners and new vendors always welcome. Call 823-7878.

Seminar on stained glass: Every Saturday, geared to the beginner but open to anyone. Call by Friday to reserve a spot. Blue Ridge Glass &Craft, McIntire Business Park at 1724 Allied St. Free. 3:30-5pm. 293 2876.

Settling down: Midday Meditation, Tuesdays 12:15pm-12:45pm and Thursdays, 12:15pm-1:15pm. Free, but donations are accepted. Gesher Center, 1824 University Circle. 970-7836

Measuring up:
The Virginia Discovery Museum returns home this month with a new roof and a new interactive Back Gallery Exhibit. "The Magical Measurement History Tour" explores the tools, units, and reasoning behind the evolution of measuring. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Pickin' apples: Now through October 31, folks are invited to join in the harvest and pick apples at Carter Mountain Orchard. Pre-picked fruit is also available along with fresh cider and the orchard's famous apple cider donuts. Priced per pound. Bags are available. Off Rt. 53. 977-1833. See Photophile.

Discovering plants and animals: The Virginia Museum of Natural History at UVA offers another Lewis and Clark exploration. Visitors can learn about the plants and animals that the Corps of Discovery encountered on their historic journey in the exhibit "Natural History Pioneers: The Flora and Fauna of the Lewis and Clark Expedition" through December 11. Admission is free. 104 Emmet St. 982-4605.

Star search: Two centuries ago, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark didn't have GPS. They and other explorers used the stars to navigate uncharted lands and waterways. The Science Museum of Virginia gives modern travelers the chance to "Follow That Star!" in their new multimedia Planetarium show now through January 11. Included in the price of admission. 2500 West Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Westward ho!: Fans of Lewis and Clark can join the great adventurers and their Corps of Discovery on their grueling two-year trek across the continent in the giant-screen IMAX film "Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West" now through January 9. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Take it to the limit: The five-story IMAX screen fills with people pushing the limits at the Science Museum of Virginia. The new film Extreme offers a glimpse into the unique relationship between nature and humanity including athletes involved in big wave surfing, ice climbing, skiing, snowboarding, windsurfing, and rock climbing. Now through January 9. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Body works: If you like to know how things work from the inside out, you'll love the latest IMAX film at the Science Museum of Virginia. Now through January 9, visitors can examine, in all its mega-screen glory, the inner workings of their insides in The Human Body. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church is showing the pencil and tempera paintings of Jesse Colvin through November 2. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

"Up Close," an exhibit of paintings by Eugenia Rausse, runs through October 30 at the New Dominion Bookshop. Meet the artist at a reception Saturday, October 18, from 3-5pm. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Rick Cocke exhibits his recent work at the Mudhouse through October. 213 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

At Mountain Art Gallery through the end of October, Karine Nguyen-Tuong's "Walls of France" are on view. 107 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall.

Photographer Doug Dertinger exhibits his "HOMEFRONT/wonderworld" at the Fayerweather Gallery through October 31. Rugby Road. 924-6123.

Paintings by Gloria Mitchell are on display in October at The Artful Lodger, 1807 Seminole Trail. 970-1900

Hullihen Williams Moore's exhibit of Shenandoah photography is in place at the ArtSpace gallery on the third floor of Newcomb Hall through November 2. The photos are to be published by the University of Virginia Press. A book launch and gallery reception will take place in the gallery on October 19, from 2-4pm. 924-4164.

The C&O Gallery shows Tamra Kirschnick's "Paintings" through October 31. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

At the Art Upstairs Gallery, Betty Gore's paintings, "Impressions of Umbria," hang through October 31. Above the Hardware Store Restaurant, 316 E. Main St. 923-3900.

John J. Trippel exhibits new work at City Centro Café through the end of October. 323 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 996-2655.

"Art and the Natural World," an exhibit featuring science themes, is on display at the Science and Engineering Library's new reading room. The exhibit will be a highlight of the library's grand opening in Clark Hall, and will be up through the academic year. The exhibit features work by UVA art faculty. 924-3628.

Paintings by Darrell Rose can be seen while you browse the discs at Spencer's 206&emdash; through October. 218 W. Water St. 295-3080.

Through November 1 at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, "Whichaway?, photographs from Kiwirrkura 1974-1996" by Jon Rhodes, and "Sacred Circles: The Tingari Cycle in Western Desert Art." 400 Peter Jefferson Place, off Route 250 East at Pantops. 244-0234.

PVCC art faculty member John Hancock's "Making for Home" art exhibit runs through October 29 in the PVCC gallery in the V. Earl Dickinson Building. 501 College Drive. 977-3900.

John Ruseau exhibits his own work at John Ruseau Watercolors in York Place on the Downtown Mall. 112 W. Main St. 977-0627.

"Technogaia," work by Mark Graves and Clark Whittington, is now on display at Gravity Lounge. 103 S. First St. 977-5590

Jerry O'Dell's paintings and stained glass creations are on view at Blue Ridge Glass & Crafts. 1724 Allied St. 293-2876.

In October, the McGuffey Art Center presents work by artist Vee Osvalds, painter Caroline Cobb, mixed-media sculptor Andy Faith, and collage artist Rhonda Roebuck. All shows run through November 2. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Amy Mitchell Howard is featured at Bozart in October. Her mixed media works will be on display through November 3. 211 W. Main St., Downtown Mall. 296-3919.

In October, Transient Crafters presents "Reflections and Illusions," the kaleidoscopes of Tom Ramsden, through the end of October. 118 W. Main on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

At the University of Virginia Art Museum, "Steam Power: Railroad Photographs of O. Winston Link," opens October 11 and runs through December 21.See Art Feature. From October 21 through November 30, the museum features Pierre Huyghe's video installation, "Third Memory." Also at the museum: "Purple with Love's Wound," Tim Rollins' collaboration with K.O.S. (Kids of Survival), middle-school students from the South Bronx, runs November 9; and Gay Outlaw's "New Work," a site-specific installation, runs through October 12. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

Les Yeux du Monde at Dot 2 Dot is showing paintings, prints, and sculpture by Bill Fisher, David Freed, and Ami Oliver&emdash; all artists featured in the film "Long Art," by David Williams, which will be screened at the Virginia Film Festival. Also at Les Yeux, Russ Warren's "From the Sketchbooks." Through the end of October. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

Children of Shenandoah: Betty Brubach's pastel and oil portraits of members of families displaced by creation of the national park, are on display in an exhibit called "Children of Shenandoah," on view through October at the Queen Anne Bed and Breakfast on Main Street, Stanardsville. 985-4832.


Marcus Alan Vincent exhibits "Sojourn in a Dream" at the Williams School Library at Washington and Lee University through December 31. Lexington. 540-458-8602.

The Baker Gallery at Woodberry Forest School features the paintings and sculpture of John Lynch in an exhibition entitled "Applied Metaphysics" through October 31. North of Orange on Route 15. 540-672-3900.

Sunspots Studios in Staunton offer live glassblowing demonstrations every day by master glassblower Phillip Nolley and art glass artist Minh Martin, both in residence. Corner of Lewis and Middlebrook streets in downtown Staunton, across from the train station. 540-885-0678.

Danette Zirkle exhibits "Tell Me About the Rabbits," an exhibit she describes as "bunnies, critters, and country scenes" in acrylic through October in the Bank Building. The corner of Market and Mason streets Harrisonburg.

At the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the distorted realism of Robert Lazzarini is on view through January 4. 2800 Grove Ave. Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Vidu Palta's "Recent Paintings," a show of still lifes and the natural world depicted in oils, runs through October 31 at Caffé Bocce, 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-4422.

Chuffa chuffa: Link's photos capture an era


The place of trains in popular culture seems to diminish a little more with every passing year. They are, for most, a third or fourth travel option or a lost 10 minutes at an intersection. Perhaps only obsessive enthusiasts dream about them anymore, and their enthusiast's habits&emdash; chasing trains across the countryside with camcorders, for example– make them seem a little odd and set them apart from more conventional hobbyists.

Photographer O. Winston Link's passion for trains would probably make sense only to those enthusiasts. After all, in the mid-1950s he did spend five self-financed years chasing the Norfolk and Western Railway trains from one end of Virginia to the other. The resulting photographs, however, are hardly the stuff of nostalgia alone. Link combined a publicity photographer's eye for the hyper-real with a playful sense of incongruity, and turned out photos too quirky, too singular, and too stylish for the eyes of enthusiasts alone.

Link trained as an engineer, but the Depression-era economy diverted him instead into a photography career. A freelance assignment in central Virginia brought Link in contact with the Norfolk and Western Railway, which happened to be the very last of the mainline railroads to operate exclusively with steam power.

These particular trains re-ignited Link's childhood love of trains, and it's not surprising why. The impressive machines, with their magnificently fat, proud plumes, make dramatic and impressive subject matter.

On occasion, Link seems interested in simply catching and framing these trains in the fading light of dusk. But in his most striking and singular photographs, Link treats the steam-powered beasts as something like a recurring character. He foregrounds his photos with images from quotidian Virginia life&emdash; a laundry line heavy with clothes, a lot full of Chevys at the drive-in, or a visit to the swimming hole at night. In every shot, however, a train barrels through the frame, sometimes comically close to the action.

"Hester Fringer's Livingroom on the Tracks, Lithia Virginia, 1955," looks at least superficially like a shot straight out of Life magazine. The entire frame is taken up with the tidy– if a little over-accessoried– livingroom of Ms. Fringer, who herself sits leisurely at right. Her expression is frozen, somewhat tart, though difficult to read. Her dog sprawls on the carpet, unconscious.

At the sizable back window, however, her son stands and waves to the train rushing by– a train running so close that it takes up the entire window with what appears to be no more than the bottom-third of the engine.

In shots like this, Link re-imagines a placid '50s lifestyle as a place overrun with trains. It's a place where hulking steam-powered trains are every bit as common and every bit as present as well-manicured hedges or a set of highball glasses, and where the drama of the late-night train rendezvous happens every hour on the hour.

"Steam Power," the railroad photographs of O. Winston Link runs through December 21 at the University of Virginia Art Museum. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

Padding okay: 50,000 words? You've got a novel!


Get out the carpal tunnel support brace and prepare to play hooky… National Novel Writing Month is upon us. First proclaimed in July 1999, "NaNoWriMo" is the Boston Marathon of literary romantics. It's the chance to cross into the ranks of glory, accompanied by 25,000 other aspirants only slightly deranged from overexertion.

"It's an odd sort of contest," concedes Chris Baty, NaNoWriMo creator and four-time novelist. "There are no judges or prizes, and your work gets deleted when you submit it."

That's right. Shed blood, sweat, tears, and creative juices for a month of your life, and all you'll get is a t-shirt and the sweet opportunity to proclaim yourself a novelist. In short, this is a project for those who want to prove something to themselves-&endash; that they can cross the finish line, reach the summit, hit the high note… which in this particular effort is writing 50,000 words in a single month.

"Make no mistake, you will write a lot of crap," intones the NaNoWriMo on-line sage.

You will also waste a lot of time meandering through the NaNoWriMo universe that is its website. Participants are seductively invited to forums on plot development, character realism (can my hero become a dentist by correspondence course?), support groups, and most appropriately, effective procrastination techniques. All with the common goal of churning out a 50,000 word novel.

NaNoWriMo is something of a global phenomenon-&endash; one that has snagged air time on NPR, press in Amsterdam, and at least a dozen Charlottesville writers-with-day-jobs in the last year alone. The sheer number of participants– which mushroomed from 140 to 5,000 in its third year– required a more automated system of manuscript verification, but Baty is committed to providing a personal response to every desperate query aimed his way during the dark hours of writer's block.

"I want to make sure that people don't feel like they're part of a machine," says Baty, sensitive to the contest's inherent emphasis on quantity over quality. He refers to the process as an experiment, not just for writers, but for the administrators, who, while never reading more than a synopsis of any entrant's grand idea, can still say, "Yes... you have a book in there. Maybe even two."

Sign up now. Start writing November 1. Hook up with your peers on December 1 for the "Thank God It's Over" party and go nuts. Because re-writes begin on December 2, and you're on your own there, Charlie.

National Novel Writing Month is November &endash; all 30 days. To heed the call and seize the day(s), log onto and start at the beginning. Godspeed, and don't forget your ergonomic stretches.

Time travel: The Big Woods– just as they were


As the masses flock to the Shenandoah National Park to wallow in the season's foliage, Montpelier's Big Woods present an equally beautiful and perhaps slightly less crowded alternative. On Sunday, October 19, a horticulturalist will lead a guided walk through the 200-acre forest.

The James Madison Landmark Forest, as fans prefer to call it, is considered unrivaled in age, size, and condition among old growth forests in the Piedmont of Alabama, Georgia, or either Carolina.

Visiting in 1816, a Frenchman, Baron de Montlezun, wrote, "Nearly all the way I rode under a vault of green… the rich vegetation of a thousand kinds of gigantic trees, a virgin soil, studded with young shoots, and renewing through them, in the crumbling corpses of the majestic pines and haughty oaks, all vigor it had showered upon them, all the life-giving sap with which it had nourished them throughout the ages…" (Imagine what that sounded like in French

Madison himself, while perhaps not quite so effusive, was one of the few men of his era to understand the value-&endash; and potential impermanence-&endash; of forests. As his contemporaries were felling trees everywhere to build up the land, he wrote, "Prudence will no longer delay to economize what remains of woodland."

Today, thanks to Madison and his successors at Montpelier, the forest remains virtually undisturbed by man, and some of the oaks, poplars, and hickories are between 200 and 300 years old.

The guided walk follows one of his original wagon roads linking Montpelier to the mill where grain was processed. Pioneers used the enormous Tulip Poplars to make canoes, and when wasps interact with a White Oak, they make a substance which turns into ink when ground with water and some soluble iron, such as rusty nails. And the inner bark of an American Beech is apparently not half bad in soup.

You will also see hickories, dogwood, many other oak varieties, redbuds, spicebush, Virginia creeper, honeysuckle, and grapevines.

Whereas in Madison's day fallen wood would be carted off and used as fuel, today the forest is barely touched by man, so that its natural development can be observed. And while 200 years ago, you would have seen pigs and other farm animals running about, today there are thrush and woodpeckers, owls, squirrels, deer, wild turkeys, bears, and bobcats in the forest.

But most impressive of all, as Beth Taylor, Montpelier's director of education, puts it, is the "almost spiritual feel of the old growth forest," the multicolored leaves floating down as you walk, the nuts and acorns crunching under your feet, and the crisp, spicy air.

The Guided two-hour walking tour of the James Madison Landmark Forest, meets on Sunday, October 19 at 2pm at the Montpelier Visitor Center. Reservations only. Adults $9; children $5. For information and reservations call 540-672-2728, press 6 for RSVP line.

To get to Montpelier, take Rt. 29 north to Ruckersville; turn right onto Rt. 33 east. At Barboursville, take a left onto Rt. 20 north towards Orange. After about 8 miles, the Montpelier Visitor Center is on the left, about 45 minutes from Charlottesville.

How big? Furlongs, cubits, digits, paces…


At the Virginia Discovery Museum, four-year-old Henry marches out 20 square floor tiles from the monarch butterfly, then uses his tape measure to find the clue that is exactly four feet and five inches up the wall and exactly 25 centimeters to the right. In this scavenger hunt, Henry and his dad are not only having fun figuring out the puzzle, they are working out the mystery of distances in The Magical Measurement History Tour.

The museum's latest rotating exhibit takes young visitors and their grown-up friends on a trip through time to explore the often arbitrary quandaries of quantifying. Did you know, for example, that a furlong is the length of a farmer's furrow? Or that a hogshead is a barrel that holds anywhere from 63-140 gallons?

One has to measure up even to enter the exhibit where three oddly shaped doors are positioned at the entrance. Which to use? Well, measure your height in oranges– it's as good a unit as anything else– to see which door is the best fit.

Kids can use their own bodies as yardsticks (King Henry I of England declared a yard to be equal to the distance from the tip of his nose to his outstretched thumb) as human beings have done since the beginning of time. They can measure the path in feet, the height of a horse in hands, and compare their cubit (length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger) or digit (breadth of one finger) or pace (distance of one footstep) with those of others.

Assembly lines and machine manufacturing introduced during the Industrial Revolution made measuring standards essential. This station lets kids use the precision of calipers to measure the diameters of various caps to see which one fits which pipe. The Modern Age station introduces the idea of scale models, and compares computer chip quantities with the amount of text that can be stored on microfiche (32,000 pages versus 55– Yikes!).

Two-and-a-half-year-old Russ's favorite is the measuring table, where aspiring bean counters can sift, funnel, measure, and pile mountains of green split peas. Gardeners can mix up a sack of garden soup with sand, soil, and a pinch of seeds. And good guestimaters can win a VDM t-shirt for getting closest to the number of pinto beans in the big, big jar.

As usual, this latest VDM offering– a new enhanced version of an exhibit originally shown six years ago– has lots more hands-on active learning that kids just think is fun.

The Magical Measurement History Tour is on display at the Virginia Discovery Museum through January 18. It's included with museum admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Over the top: Offstage with a Bardish tint


A friend once reported he had managed to get through high school without reading a single word of Shakespeare. This led us to the question: If you could read only a single word of Shakespeare, what word would it be? Our answer, after some thought, was, "Saucy."

And there went another Friday night.

After reading A Fortune in Antarctica, which opens in an Offstage Theater production this weekend, I had a feeling that Charlottesville playwright Joel Jones has spent his share of Friday nights asking silly Shakespeare questions. The play is written in flawless iambic pentameter and includes rhymed soliloquies, ingenious punning, and typically Shakespearean prose interludes where the clown of the play lumbers out to pander to the groundlings.

Of course, no Shakespearean clown ever used the phrase, "non-anorak-wearing chicks who I could impregnate with my sperm."

At least not that I know of. I'm still trying to get through Troilus and Cressida.

Jones's latest play, a comedy set in 1900, follows an Antarctic expedition led by Major Crashing Bore on the S.S. A.S.S.U.R.E.R. His mission: to rescue the great polar explorer Professor Schorn, who was captured and possibly killed by tobacco-loving penguins on a previous expedition.

Among the would-be rescue party are a Darwin-spouting suffragette, an adulterous libertine, a virginal boarding school girl who can't wait to get unvirginal, and a foul-mouthed Eskimo named– wait for it, Dylan fans– Quinn.

It can be a little disorienting to listen to scenes' worth of elegantly antiquated blank verse, then suddenly have hand-puppet penguins waving pistols around and saying things like "Nice try," and, "Damn right."

But Jones is clearly having too much fun to be bound by anybody's rules, including his own. He's learned as much from The Simpsons as from Shakespeare. And he reminds us they're not as far apart as most people think.

Offstage Theater Company is the ideal producer for Antarctica. The company's ongoing commitment to new writing, however unorthodox, has been on display for years in its Barhopper series, as well as in numerous other productions.

Co-artistic director Chris Patrick, a constant feature in Charlottesville theater, is at the helm of Jones's comedy. Patrick's enthusiasm about the play makes it easy to forget that there aren't many theaters around waiting to produce plays about bumbling polar adventurers and murderous talking penguins.

But then, even Shakespeare had his critics.

A Fortune in Antarctica will be performed Friday through Sunday, October 17-19, and October 24-26, at the Plan 9 Outer Space on the Corner. Note: the show will be performed "camp style for better sight lines, so bring your own pillows, blankets, or lawn chairs." All shows start at 8pm. Tickets are $8. 1419 University Ave. 531-0158.

Good ole time: Mammals blend past and future


Old time/folk group the Mammal's debut disc, Evolver, is a glimpse into where "the kids" are taking this traditional genre, and from the sound of things, the future looks bright. Evolver is a mix of traditional folk songs and sweet original numbers, combining instrumentation ranging from banjo to gourd, and rootsy harmony singing straight out of a picturesque American past.

The Mammals are composed of Ruth Ungar (daughter of fiddler Jay Ungar), Michael Merenda, and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger (grandson of Pete Seeger), and they play more instruments on Evolver than most musicians have probably ever held. Presented in list form below, it reinforces the fact that the Mammals are one talented group of people.

Ungar: fiddle, ukuleles, guitar, glockenspiel, clogging, sewing machine, vocals.

Merenda: banjo, guitar, ronrroco, electric bass, percussion, drums, vocals.

Rodriguez-Seeger: guitars, banjos, bodhran, vocals.

Evolver begins with "Way Down the Old Plank Road," a traditional folk/country number with some of the best opening lines I've ever heard, "My wife died on Friday, Saturday she was buried / Sunday was my courtin' day, Monday I got married."

Merenda's strong, slightly nasal, country-fried voice sings the song's opening verse before shortly becoming part of a chorus of tight, three-part harmony vocals when Ungar and Rodriquez-Seeger come in. Merenda continues "Nickel bag of weed a week, cocaine here to sell / How can a young man go back home?, city girls look so well," before again being surrounded by cries of the "Won't get drunk no more" revelry from the other two. Banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitar, simple drums, and an actually quite pop-influenced electric bass line trade off for prominence with the group's vocals, in a pleasing tug-of-war that continues for most of the rest of the album.

"The House Carpenter / Pipeline," another traditional tune, begins with a simple three-note banjo melody before Ungar sings, in her girlish voice, "Well met, well met, said an old true love." A second banjo kicks in, and the two swirl around her voice, with a kind of "dueling banjos" feel. For the second verse, upright bass provides the driving percussion, and tight female harmonies lock onto Ungar's lead.

"69 Pleasant St." is one of a number of songs on the album written by Merenda&endash; though not an abrasive change, it's plain to see where the traditional arrangements end and the original numbers begin. Much more folk than old time, Merenda's half-sung/half-whispered high voice is backed by acoustic picking, clean electric guitar strumming, and light mandolin playing on this track, a nice folk/pop song.

Other highlights on the album include a cover of Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," and the Merenda/Ungar tune, "Profit." More country than "69 Pleasant St.," this is one original track where the group's traditional numbers show their influence.

Part past, part future, the Mammals are, in addition to their "educational" worth, just a romping good time.

Strings of Life: Old Time Music and Culture: The Mammals with Ruth Ungar & Tao Rodriguez-Seeger perform at the Prism on October 23. $12/$10 advance, 7pm.